Monday, June 18, 2012

General Life Update and Snorkeling ol' Renggis

Please forgive my doozy of a gap in blog posts. We've been super slammed here at the turtle project. Turtle activity was bumpin' in the beginning of June (cue JTP Facebook plug here). To keep it short: nests on all three beaches plus a lot of hatchling action. Then Alli, Charlie and I took a trip to Mersing, the gateway town to Tioman on mainland Malaysia. It's the burg the ferry boat shuffles to and fro from. It was Alli and I's first trip off-island in exactly two months and it can be summed up quite succinctly: delicious Chinese pork, shopping for supplies, sweating in the heat (no jungle shade there) and a bad action movie in the hotel room.

Then we hopped back over to Tioman and a few days later 19 Singaporean polytechnic students came to JTP for 4 nights. It was a total blast. We cleaned Jo's tank with them (complete with sea turtle diarrhea), did a bunch of manual labor, taught them how to rake leaves and whack wood with a machete, took 'em snorkeling (conclusion: rough waves plus first time snorkelers equals Alli and I having our hands full, but I did scope my first ever Cuttlefish!), heard them scream multiple times in response to the spiders running around in their chalets, and totally fooled them all into thinking our plastic turtle we have was a nesting female who came up at early afternoon. Plus tons of other rockin' activities. A solid bunch of city kids who got a all-too-short respite from the urban world.

That's ol' Renggis off in the sea in the background there, our destination.
Now to make things a little confusing the rest of this blog post is a narrative of a snorkeling trip Allison and I did over one month ago (15 May) to ol' Ringey aka Renggis Island. A tiny rocky nubbin,' which is located on the other side of Tioman just south of Tekek. The trip was phenomenal and began with a sweaty jaunt from our chalet to the beach (at the behemoth Berjaya resort) where we swam out to the island from. But first we had to read the sign and take notice of the monstrous sea urchin. In reality there was more than one in the sea, actually there was a ton. Lost in translation for sure.

Oh yes, beware! I love that the words tell us to watch out for one, but the pictures three.
Eyes on the prize. View from the beach where we swam out to get our snorkel on.

Top photo: More Rengiss, which below is also my shoreline hair twin for the day.
The swim out was filled with urchins and dead coral unfortunately. I've heard the corals here 20 years ago were still full of life, but now it's just an urchin, rock, sand and giant purdy clam party. *** Remember: all these photos enlarge if you give them a click. Also, a larger Facebook photo album can be found here.

Urchins and clams, from far away and close up.
After a solid chunk of time we made it out to the island and it was a fish frenzy from the get go. A truly large number of fish were swimming all around us, but the reason for this was very lame. Some boat drivers who shuttle tourist snorkelers out there feed the fish sandwich bread so when we first arrived Alli and I were caught up in the scaly barrage. They were coming at us from all angles. I've never been surrounded by so many fish in my life. Some were bumping into my mask and legs. You could see them gobbling down the soggy bread. Alli had to break free and get some space. I don't blame her. But the underwater terrain around the island was gorgeous. Shallow water and coral everywhere you looked.
Sassy Tern on a boat/swimming platform.
Floating with the fish, bout to get surrounded by these bread deprived creatures.
Underwater coral scenery.
Eventually we broke free of the bread fiesta and boat platforms and did a loop around the joint. All kinds of fish were seen: several species of parrotfish, Bird wrasse, Orangespine unicornfish (what a name eh?), Titan triggerfish, False Clown anemonefish (made famous by Nemo), large schools of needlefish, Virgate rabbitfish and many more! A bountiful loop I must say. The shallow water and abundant sunshine made for stellar visibility.
Top two photos: ain't no party like a parrotfish party cause a parrotfish party don't stop!
Grumpy False Clown anemonefish who were not content with us up in their space. One of the best photos by far from the day.
Orangespine Unicornfish - what a name and what a creamsicle colored spot by the tail too.
After our loop we chilled out on the swimming platform for awhile soaking up some sun. A few boats with folks pulled up when we were there. It's amazing how quick they snorkel, as some only stuck around for 15 minutes or so. A few of the snorkelers couldn't even swim but luckily had PFDs on. But even with the floatation help they still struggled. Basically without it they would have drowned. I thought I was going to have to bust out some of my old lifeguard moves for one lady who could not move forward at all and seemed to be drifting away. Thanks goodness she caught the rope and pulled herself back. Gotta love people who jump in the ocean over beds of coral that can't swim!

More shallow corals spinning out and doing their thing.
We plopped back in the water for one more look around, which proved to be the right call. Plenty more parrotfish were spotted, along with a large barracuda and two Blacktip reef sharks, one of which swam by me just a few meters away! Can't beat an ending like that. It was Terminator 2 good. After another dry out session we swam back to shore, taking the more direct route and saving a ton of time. After over two months on Tioman now this spot ranks pretty high on our favorite list. Thankfully neither of us was assaulted by "the urchin." We'll be back again sometime in the future. And anyone out there who comes for a visit, we'll be taking you here too. That's all that's fit to type at the moment.

Ya Got to Keep Ya Feet Up... I think Tupac rapped something similar to this.
Sometimes fish gotta photo bomb too.

1 comment:

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